The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth report has been released and it makes sober reading. It not only presents mounting evidence that the climate is changing and is anthropogenically driven but that the planet is on an unsustainable trajectory which is becoming increasingly difficult to deviate from.
All the modelling suggests that both fluvial and coastal flooding will increase across Australia and many other parts of the world. Studies from Australian scientists are even suggesting that the IPCC is underestimating some of the impacts.
This is at the same time that we report on other data showing that coastal and floodplain populations are increasing. Furthermore, the floodplain populations appear to be increasing most dramatically amongst the poorest communities in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. As often is the case, the most vulnerable are bearing the brunt of the impacts. Although China is no longer considered to be a developing country, it is one of the hardest hit by floods and experts suggest that flooding will be a significant constraint to its continued economic growth.
Climate change adaptation will inevitably be a response to this and we report on several ideas and initiatives from around the world for mitigating the risks of flooding. However, the most effective mitigation measures will be to reduce carbon emissions and carefully plan where we put future development. The sooner we see some climate-induced human change, the sooner we will reduce the impacts of human-induced climate change.